Terry Jones, the recently infamous Qur’an burning pastor, led a protest yesterday in Dearborn, Michigan. The demonstration was staged in front of city hall to protest against the influence of Islam in America and the push towards enacting Sharia law and also simply to exercise his free speech rights which have been thoroughly trampled of late. Disagree? The ACLU doesn’t. Interestingly, no one seems to care about his message or why he wants to hold protests. It’s about who he’s protesting against. Ever since he spoke of burning Qur’ans and then finally did so early this year, he has been vilified by Muslims and, of course, media everywhere. When was the last time burning Bibles made the news?
The ironic thing is that protests are, by nature, confrontational even if they are peaceful – there is still a clash of ideas and beliefs and sometimes people. But Jones couldn’t prove that his protest would be peaceful. Why? Because he and everybody else had no idea what an angry Muslim counter-protest would erupt into. So in the interests of peace, Jones was prevented from protesting last week and hauled before a court, ordered to post a “peace bail” (due to a law from 1846) and also briefly jailed! All this without even protesting. And then he was banned from the mosque and adjacent property for three years. And people say his rights were not violated? He was banned from a property on which he never committed a crime. He was put on trial for non-crimes that he didn’t even commit. It’s like Minority Report for non-crimes that you will commit – arrested and jailed prior to the crime, guilty without empirical proof, guilty over a fear.
At this point some readers are reeling at the thought that I am defending Terry Jones. But I am defending what the ACLU is defending – free speech. Even though I don’t agree with the ACLU 95% of the time, I think they are right on this one. Interestingly enough, one of the lawyers of the ACLU defending Jones is a devout Muslim himself! He admits that this is difficult for him but it’s the principle of the matter. If we go down this road where we cater to a group because we are afraid of their reaction then soon we will have the Middle East in our streets – violent riots, murders, beheadings and the loss of our free society. These are the things that Jones is fighting against.
That said, as a professing Christian, he has made some serious blunders that will only harm the name of Christians and churches. Should he have burned a Qur’an, probably not, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s minimally provocative when compared to the reaction of the Muslim international community. He has received hundreds of death threats and the FBI says Hezbollah has a $2.4 million bounty on his head. When he did finally burn the Qur’an – the Middle East erupted into a violent frenzy, innocent people were murdered and once again the world saw (if it wanted to) the extremism and violence that is a regular part of Islam. When you see women, boys and men angrily protesting about one tiny incident that happened halfway across the world and demanding vengeance, the reaction is overwhelmingly disproportionate.
Now many people would say we shouldn’t provoke Islam, look what happens, let’s just leave them alone – look at Terry Jones, look at the Danish cartoons. But that’s ignorant and naive. Jones isn’t fighting Islam in the Middle East or in the countries where it is the official religion and way of life, he is fighting it in the States where democracy and freedom are the religion and way of life. Anyone who disagrees should spend sometime abroad and sample the freedoms that Islam offers.
Now to yesterday, April 29. Jones was allowed, with 75 others, to protest in front of city hall, not in front of the Mosque – the Mosque was nowhere in site and in no danger of a protest. However just across the street a much larger group of protesting Muslims gathered – a group estimated to be 5 times larger than Jones. Not only was the Muslim mob much louder than Jone’s little group, it was much more angry and prone to violence. At one point they broke down their barricade and charged towards Jone’s group only to be held back by riot police in full gear. Multiple arrests were made and in the end Jones only protested for 75 minutes of his allotted 3 hours.
So what was everyone worried about? Exactly what happened – the Muslim’s reaction. Jones didn’t pull out a gun and shoot a Muslim; he didn’t burn a Qur’an in front of them and yet they still tried to physically attack him. Tell me who is being unreasonable, Jones? The city of Dearborn? The Islamic Community?
Bottom line, Qur’an burning – distasteful but not a crime; Jone’s odious rants – odious but legal; Protesting – not a crime; Islamic response – violent and extreme and something to worry about.Advertisement